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Minnich’s Musings About Ohio State at Notre Dame

Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day Will Be Scrutinized, Even With The WIn

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. My heart is still pounding.

In a game that has the distinct flavor of the 2002 national championship season, where the Buckeyes were seemingly on the verge of defeat in so many games, Ohio State rallied to win on the road to defeat Notre Dame, 17-14. Ohio State battled back from a second half where the Buckeyes were being worn down by the Notre Dame offensive line and running game.

Kyle McCord took a huge step towards putting his name in Ohio State lore. Every football fan fantasizes about leading a team down the field to score the winning touchdown - Kyle McCord did it, on the road, at night against a very talented and tough Notre Dame defense.

If I were Lou Holtz, I would make a beeline to the nearest reporter and ask for forgiveness. Holtz had his moments as a master motivator during his coaching career, but his comments only helped to fire up Ryan Day and Ohio State, especially when the Buckeyes needed it the most.

The Ohio State defense was gassed by the end of the game. That is concerning as Ohio State will be facing some very run-heavy offenses as they begin Big Ten conference play after this upcoming bye week.

Major props to Marvin Harrison, Jr. The ankle injury he sustained looked like the kind of deal where Harrison could have been lost for the season, and Harrison came back into the game. It is fair to wonder how effective he was, but Harrison was a priority for the Notre Dame defense all game, even after the injury. The bye week can only help with Harrison’s recovery.

J.T. Tuimoloau came up big at the end of the game. Tuimoloau was not much of a factor in the pass rush area, but he tackled Sam Hartman for a loss, then broke up a pass that Tuimoloau nearly intercepted.

Chip Trayanum has established himself as the most physical running back on the roster. Yes, TreVeyon Henderson is the starter, but Trayanum should be the guy getting the ball on short-yardage plays; more on that below.

As much as I love how fired up Ryan Day was after the game... Uh, Coach, what were you doing with some of those play calls?

In the first half, with Ohio State facing a 4th and goal, from the Notre Dame 1-yard line, Ohio State attempted a pass that fell incomplete. Going for it on 4th and goal was the right idea - but Ohio State could not run for a yard?!?

In the second half, when Ohio State was driving, and faced with another 4th and 1 from the Notre Dame 11, Ohio State called timeout. Trailing 14-10, with only a little over 4 minutes remaining in the game, Ohio State decided to run a sweep play with Emeka Egbuka, giving the ball back after Egbuka was stopped short. Again - Ohio State was incapable of lining up and running straight forward for a yard?!?

Ohio State is 4-0 and just passed a major test. Notre Dame is going to be in the college football playoff conversation, as the Fighting Irish are certainly capable of winning their remaining games - yes, I am saying that Notre Dame can beat USC when the Trojans come to South Bend in October for what will be another night game. Notre Dame missed a field goal, and those three points turned out to be crucial to the outcome of the game.

The bye week represents an opportunity for Ohio State’s coaches to work on what is concerning, and one of those concerns is short-yardage running plays by the offense. The defense has to get better at playing the run, because Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan will all copy the Notre Dame blueprint that almost resulted in a victory for the Fighting Irish tonight.

Safe travels home for any and all Ohio State fans who made the trek to South Bend. Notre Dame, I am confident that the Buckeyes will be crossing paths with you in the future, probably in the College Football Playoff - possibly this year, as well as in 2024, when the College Football Playoff expands to 12 teams. Just make a point to tell your former head coach to do his best to motivate your team, and not the opposition.